Challah is a special Jewish braided egg bread that's eaten on the Sabbath and certain special holidays. It's not fussy to make and can be prepared and baked up in just a few hours.
I'm not a fan of false advertising. I get 3 or 4 emails a day from stores, clothing companies, etc. Nothing ticks me off more then seeing a cute outfit on an add put out by or for clothing, and when you go to look for the merchandise ... not there. (No, not sold out. Simply, not something they sell).
With food its even more annoying. Today there were a billion tweets about how taco bell meat isn't really meat. Well, duh. But what's shocking, is how far they are allowed to twist their advertising and what the FDA doesn't seem to be really doing anything about. According to what I read today (sorry for not having a link), there is less then 36% meat in Taco Bells meat filling.
I even tried a small bite of a famous pastry line today and couldn't help but realize... it wasn't yummy! The BF can still kill an entire box, but I couldn't even make it through my taste.
Well, here's something that does taste as good as it looks and you'll feel rather rewarded when it's all said and done. Take your 30% coupon off that!
recipe from Fine Cooking, seen on Full Circle.
- 2 teaspoon instant yeast (Red Star Quick Rise, SAF Perfect Rise, Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise or Fleischmann’s Bread Machine Yeast)
- 16-¾ oz. (3-½ cups) unbleached all-purpose flour (Hecker’s, Gold Medal, or Pillsbury); more as needed
- ¼ cup warm water
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup honey
- 1-½ teaspoon table salt
- For the glaze:
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Sesame or poppy seeds for sprinkling (optional)
In a large bowl, mix the yeast with ½ cup of the flour. Add the warm water, stir, and let this mixture, called a sponge, sit until it starts to puff up, 15-to 20-minutes. Add the eggs, oil, honey, and salt; stir until well combined. The sponge will remain lumpy—this is fine. Add the remaining flour and mix the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are combined. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead until fairly smooth, about 2 minutes. The dough should feel very firm and will be hard to knead. If it’s soft and sticky, add more flour until it’s very firm. Transfer the dough to a large, clean container and cover it well. Let it rise until doubled in bulk and very soft to the touch, about 2 hours, depending on the room temperature. Line an insulated baking sheet with parchment or oiled foil. If you don’t have an insulated sheet, stack two sheets together (this keeps the bottom of the bread from over browning during baking).
To shape the dough:
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle a little more flour over it. Spread and flatten the dough a bit, but don’t worry about punching it down. Cut it into three to six equal pieces, depending on your desired braiding pattern. Set aside the dough pieces, cover them lightly with plastic, and brush all the flour off the work surface. Have a small bowl of water handy. Using no flour, roll a piece of dough with a rolling pin into a very thin sheet, between ⅛ and ¼ inch thick (don’t worry about making a rectangle; an amoeba-type shape is fine). The dough may stick to the work surface; this is all right—just nudge it gently with a dough scraper. Tightly roll up the sheet like a carpet to form a strand. Roll the strand back and forth between your hands until it’s thin, very even, and 12 to 15 inches long. Braid into desired loaf shape.
Transfer the braid to the lined baking sheet and cover it loosely but thoroughly with plastic wrap. Let proof until doubled in bulk and the loaf remains indented when lightly pressed, about 2 hours, depending on room temperature. (If in doubt, let the dough proof more rather than less.)
Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Just before baking, brush the dough with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds, if using. With a thin wooden skewer, poke the bread deeply all over (the holes will prevent air pockets and help the bread keep its shape during baking). Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the challah 180 degrees and bake until the bread is a dark, burnished brown, about another 15 minutes. (If the Challah is browning too rapidly cover it loosely with foil and let it finish baking. Don’t remove the loaf too soon, as you’ll risk under baking.) Let cool thoroughly on a rack.
Check out this braiding tutorial that was included in Full Circle Challah's post from Chabad.org.
Sommer J says
I hate taco bell with a passion. can't believe anyone is surprised by the news either. i didn't even read the article, a few friends posted on fb and i was like, 'no s***?' Your bread looks perfect! Fantastic job.
Blog is the New Black says
WOw, great job!
Leftover Challa makes the BEST french toast. In the universe. Period.
Great job, looks fantastic.
Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie says
Wow. That looks absolutely amazing! How shiny and beautiful it turned out! :-p I wanna try, I wanna try!
Belinda @zomppa says
I don't know what to say other than this is STUNNING. Gorgeous! Gorgeous. Gorgeous.
Kate @ Diethood.com says
Your challah looks incredible, Kita! I love that bread, but I only have it maybe 1-2 times a year ... I should have it more often! You did a wonderful job with it!
That is gorgeous! I could just reach through my screen and grab some of that!
Your bread came out beautiful! YUM!
Wow Kita, amazing job with this bread! It's so beautifully braided, and all shiny and delicious looking !I've always been so intimidated by a braided bread... I should get over it, yes?
Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets says
Really quite gorgeous braiding and color. I've been wanting to make my own challah for quite some time.
Why can't I make bread like this! I'm so jealous, this looks so good!!
You did such a beautiful job braiding that bread. I love Challah. It's so rich and delicious.
Fresh and Foodie says
Yum! Wow, that looks beautiful...but complicated! Very impressive.
Your blog is adorable and your challah looks amazing! I love that this recipe allows you to kick challah's ass on the first try! =)
Amy Bakes Everything says
Beautiful! You DID kick that challah's ass!
Vicki @ Wilde in the Kitchen says
That is one beautiful looking challah! I love challah, it makes such amazing french toast. I've got to try the braided knot some time!
I'll have to admit, after late nights at the bars or sometimes even completely sober (oh my!), I've had some Taco Bell and enjoyed... and of course, I knew it wasn't real meat, but I think actually seeing it in print is what's most disturbing!
But this challah, it's not disturbing at all! It's downright beautiful and you've got one perfect braid, that's for sure!
Jenny @ melting butter says
always wondered how to shape dough like that! thanks for the tips 🙂
Rumana Rawat says
What a awesome looking bread:)
It's so beautifulI I can't stand it!! My bread efforts have always been a disaster, me & yeast don't mix, but this is making me want to have another go. Well done Top 9 girly!!
I would have never pictured myself making something like this. I can't post the 3 breads I've made in the last year that never rose to the occasion. They don't photograph so well. So, my advice, keep trying! I can't explain how happy I was when this started to rise and look good!
Chef Dennis says
that is a gorgeous loaf of Challah, I need to learn to make that and soon!
Congrats on your top 9
Junia @ Mis Pensamientos says
beautiful, exquisite bread. congrats on top 9 🙂
It is a pleasure and thank you for sharing this recipe with us!
Sprinkling of Sugar says
I love CHALLAH!!!!! I try to make it at least every few weeks on Friday nights for Shabbat dinner. My recipe is very close to yours, and it always turns out so delicious. Don't judge me but my favorite thing to put inside are hot dogs! I'm serious it's so delicious. I also like chocolate chips and cinnamon and sugar. Anyways thanks for posting this delicious recipe.
I don't judge at all - heck - I wanna know how to put a hot dog in there! 😀
Damn - nice job. You could always bring your left over to the house!!!
Maggie @ Vittles and Bits says
WOW! This was definitely worthy of "a little happy dance" because it is absolutely gorgeous! I am very impressed!
I love challah bread and yours looks divine! What a gorgeous color!
Jackie (Phamfatale.com) says
The bread looks soft and moist. It'd be great in the morning or as afternoon snack or late night supper. Beautiful!
I made this challah recipe for last week's shabbat along with my usual recipe (partly to have a taste test battle with my husband and partly in case it flopped) and it was a winner. My husband's exact words were "wow, this is awesome." So this recipe is officially our new shabbat recipe. I used bleached flour because that's what I have, does using unbleached flour do anything for the taste or texture? Thanks for the recipe! Also, I've never eaten food from taco bell, but I think the biggest problem is that wholesome, healthy food is too expensive for many people. So since it's cheap, consumers don't complain and they consume. We, unfortunately, live in a world where too many people have to settle for false advertizing because they can't afford to eat anything else. Hence the popularity of chains like Taco Bell, McDonalds, Burger King etc... When buying ingredients for a healthy meal is more expensive than getting cheap fake meat wrapped in more fake food, then you open the door to a lot of lies!
I am happy to hear this recipe turned out for you. I am not sure what the difference between bleached and unbleached would do for baking. I really believe it may just be a preference when cooking. I know some people avoid bleached because of the process. But - I am not a baker by trade, so I am not sure if there is a technical reason for using one of the other.